Q. I want to pay for my employees to be screened regularly for COVID-19. Is this a taxable benefit or is it exempt?
A. When the guidance for employers was published back in July 2020, HMRC stated that an employer paying for an employee to be tested would constitute a taxable benefit in kind. This received a lot of criticism and resulted in a reversal of the decision. It has now been announced that from 8 December 2020 to 5 April 2021, employer-funded tests for COVID-19 will be exempt. The test for antibodies (to check whether an individual has previously had the disease) will not be included in this. HMRC will also not seek to recover tax or national insurance where employers have paid for tests prior to 8 December.
What is not currently clear is whether the payments will need to be reported on form P11D - particularly those made in the period to 7 December 2020. We will keep you updated with any further news.